This planet of ours is beginning to burn — and not just last week or month either. It’s been smoldering for decades now. Last summer, for instance, amid global heat records (Ouargla, Algeria, 124 degrees Fahrenheit; Hong Kong, over 91 degrees Fahrenheit for 16 straight days; Nawabsha, Pakistan, 122 degrees Fahrenheit; Oslo, Norway, over 86 degrees Fahrenheit for 16 consecutive days; Los Angeles, 108 degrees Fahrenheit), and wildfires have been raging within the Arctic Circle.
This March, in case you hadn’t noticed — and why would you, since it’s gotten so little attention? — the temperature in Alaska was, on average, 20 degrees, yes, that is not a misprint) above normal and typical ice roads between villages and towns across parts of that state were melting and collapsing , with deaths ensuing.
Meanwhile, in the Antarctic, ice is melting at a rate startling to scientists. If the process accelerates, global sea levels could rise far faster than expected, beginning to drown coastal cities like Miami, New York, and Shanghai more quickly than previously imagined. Meanwhile, globally, the wildfire season is lengthening. Fearsome fires are on the rise, as are droughts, and that’s just to begin to paint a picture of a heating planet and its ever more extreme weather systems and storms. (Excerpt from Tom Dispatch April 25, 2019)
The Guardian newspaper has just announced that it is banning the phrase “global climate change” and substituting “global climate crisis”. But the American government, whose priority is protecting special interests (and particularly special donors) has been busy effectively dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency. If there is anyone left on Earth in a century’s time I hope people will gaze at memorials to the shortsighted, money- grubbing people who commit such an appalling act, sitting on their hands, hoping to get through their own selfish lives comfortably and to hell with everyone else, presumably their own children into the bargain. Do they have no shame at all?
Epicurus, who believed in the pleasant life, would be appalled.